Synopses & Reviews
The first African American major league ballplayer of the twentieth century was a hard-nosed, high-spirited athlete who became one of the most admired personalities in the country. Jackie Robinson personified courage from the minute he stepped into the major leagues, adorned proudly in his Dodger blue. Nevertheless, he was a man who bore a daily, bloody trial of vicious attacks, race-baiting taunts, and death threats, risking both his safety and his sanity in order to simply play the game. The strain would end his life far too soonbut he gave his life for something great, as all heroes do.
In Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, renowned broadcaster Scott Simon brings his passion for baseball and civil rights to this crucial moment in history. He deftly captures the drama of Robinsons first year in baseball, tracing his journey from rookie to Rookie of the Year, the award that now bears Robinsons name.
At the close of World War II, no nation was freer or stronger than the United Statesand yet few major nations so openly subjugated so many of their own citizens. Simon recounts how Robinson struggled with racism both in the army and on the baseball diamond, finally landing a place in the Negro Leagues as a shortstop. Just at the time when the country was beginning to question the morality of racial segregation, Robinson was battling bigotry every step of the wayfrom his entry into the minor leagues; to Opening Day, April 15, 1947, when he helped the Brooklyn Dodgers win; to his first World Series.
But for the man who "just wanted to be treated like any other player," the goal of integrating the major leagues was worth every moment of agony and anguish. Simon reveals how Robinsons skills and daring turned adversaries into admirers. For every piece of hate mail, for every epithet called across the field, there were prayers, greeting cards, and letters of encouragement from Southerners and Brooklynites, rabbis and ministers. And thanks to that seminal year, Robinson paved the way for scores of black players to finally join organized baseball. This important story of a man of remarkable conviction is by turns inspiring, emotional, and uplifting.
"An extraordinary book...invitingly written and brisk." Chicago Tribune
"Perhaps no one has ever told the tale [of Robinson's arrival in the major leagues] so well as [Simon] does in this extended essay." The Washington Post Book World
"Scott Simon tells a compelling story of risk and sacrifice, profound ugliness and profound grace, defiance and almost unimaginable courage. This is a meticulously researched, insightful, beautifully written book, one that should be read, reread, and remembered." Laura Hillenbrand, author of the New York Times bestseller Seabiscuit
"Simon's book does not reveal anything new about Robinson, but for those not completely familiar with his story, this is an excellent place to start." Library Journal
The integration of baseball in 1947 had undeniable significance for the civil rights movement and American history. Thanks to Jackie Robinson, a barrier that had once been believed to be permanent was shattered paving the way for scores of African Americans who wanted nothing more than to be granted the same rights as any other human being.
In this book, renowned broadcaster Scott Simon reveals how Robinson's heroism brought the country face-to-face with the question of racial equality. From his days in the army to his ascent to the major leagues, Robinson battled bigotry at every turn. Simon deftly traces the journey of the rookie who became Rookie of the Year, recalling the taunts and threats, the stolen bases and the slides to home plate, the trials and triumphs. Robinson's number, 42, has been retired by every club in major league baseball in homage to the man who had to hang his first Brooklyn Dodgers uniform on a hook rather than in a locker.
In Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, Scott Simon tells a compelling story of risk and sacrifice, profound ugliness and profound grace, defiance and almost unimaginable courage. This is a meticulously researched, insightful, beautifully written book, one that should be read, reread, and remembered.
About the Author
Scott Simon is the host of NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon. He has reported stories from all fifty states and every continent, covered ten wars, from El Salvador to Iraq, and has won every major award in broadcasting. He is the author of Home and Away, a memoir, Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, and the novel Pretty Birds. He lives with his wife, Caroline, and their daughters, Elise and Lina.
Table of Contents
2. Steaming Home.
3. Brooklyn, 1947.
4. Barred in Boston.
5. Mr. Rickey's Little List.
6. "Oh, what a Pair, those Two!"
7. Minor Leaguer.
8. The Season.
Acknowledgments, Notes, and Thanks.